Eh!! Tho yaye! ( Loosely translated to Oh… My word !).At this point allow me to go native. Asking for directions in Africa is a palaver , regardless of region. I will give a tale of two cities in South Africa.
1) I am not a technorati, I stuck to my $10 practical thief proof phone for 5 years, until I actually got an Iphone two months ago as a gift, which, I must say I just charge and continue using my trusted development phone .
2) That goes to say stuff like google maps is an exciting new technology, which, I honestly never use, but stick to asking directions
So those who have run with me may have noticed the following, when Jael or Susan sends us a Google Map link for directions. 1)- ME: “Oh it’s not necessary, we can get there, I know the landmarks!”, MY FELLOW RUNNERS: “ I will transfer this to my smartphone as a back up.”….. and they are always right, because somehow I still get lost!
So this caught up with me. My trusted finger-in-mouth-then-wave-in-wind- GPS not only got me hilariously lost physically but also in translation.
I got to Sandton, in Johannesburg South Africa last week on Thursday , so, immediately after checking in I went straight to the gym as it was dark. Right after my meetings the following day, I planned a 10 km run in the financial district and I had a targeted destination and yes, I went straight to the concierge for directions.
He holds my hand and directs me “ Maam, you see that tree with purple flowers…”, “Oh boy, it’s going to be one of those…”, I think and sigh. So let’s start with the fact that this time of the year the Jacaranda tree and its family is blooming all over Sub Sahara Africa. So yes, I did see a tree with purple flowers, and this is Johannesburg, the city with the fastest growing man made forest . So yes, I did see a tree, but also lots of purple trees!
After the ‘poignant’ directions, I started running and I must admit the beauty of the jacaranda was that the floor was a carpet of purple and of course with hint of jasmine flowers from the side walk, made it worth getting lost, because I DID get lost and found myself outside Sandton. The return trip made my run a total of 12 kms.
So two days later I went to Maphikeng 400kms North West from Sandton and after checking in, I planned my running route and…I am either a sucker for punishment or too rigid to learn, because as you guessed it, I asked for directions. Which, led to this conversation, “Maam, pass the two robots and the two circles and you will get to the right path.” So my first reaction was , “this country has ROBOTS,” and I asked , “what robots?” the impatient concierge said, “Maam, the red orange and green on the road!” Right… the robots were traffic lights and the circles were roundabouts.
The good thing is that thanks to getting lost again in the morning, while I was running, I was able to run again later in the afternoon, so that day I was able to do a total of 15kms. Other than these hilarious experiences, I was able to run everyday, plus it was also hilarious to run in a financial district where you see a bank and stock exchange advertisement , to running in a town where the normal advert was sheep for sale!
Anyway next stop Botswana and boy do I have an adventure for you guys.
… and yes… i will make use of the IPhone LOL